I keep getting slaps in the face that wake me up and remind me that I am not always to know what exactly God is doing, but that I am simply to trust Him. I am trying my hardest to put all my trust in Him, and I am seeking to live through this time with grace. So often do I want to give up. So often do I dream of getting on the airplane and coming home. But for the sake of Christ, I know there is no way I could do either of those things. And while I am living in this moment, all I can hope to do is glorify Him by not giving up. By not allowing this darkness to consume me. By keeping my head held high and trusting that God knows exactly what He is doing.
This morning, God brought me another one of these pleasant face slaps. He has a funny way of giving me exactly what I need at the exact moment I need it - it's like He really does know what He is doing. I usually just share a small part of what He's shown me, but today, to be able to fully explain my thoughts, I want to share the whole thing - it's not too long. Just the daily devotional from O. Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest" that I have shared so much from already.
"The Sacrament of the Saint
"So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." 1 Peter 4:19
To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God's will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God's will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. No saint dare interfere with the discipline of suffering in another saint.
The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. The people who do us good are never those who sympathize with us, they always hinder, because sympathy enervates. No one understands a saint but the saint who is nearest to the Saviour. If we accept the sympathy of a saint, the reflex feeling is - Well, God is dealing hardly with me. That is why jesus said self-pity was of the devil (see Matt. 16:23). Be merciful to God's reputation. It is easy to blacken God's character because God never answers back, He never vindicates Himself. Beware of the thought that Jesus needed sympathy in His earthly life; He refused sympathy from man because He knew far too wisely that no one on earth understood what He was after. He took sympathy from His Father only, and from the angels in heaven. (Cf. Luke 15:10.)
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say - God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judge at all of where that is."
One thing I noticed just last night after I got done talking with my roommate Stacey (who is also going through very similar circumstances - so please keep her in your prayers as well), I realized something. And my realization was confirmed through this devotional today. I am so thankful Stacey is here. I am so thankful to have someone by my side who understands exactly what I am going through. We have even acknowledged to each other a sentence such as this, "It's different talking to you than it is talking to people back at home because you really understand what I'm going through. They just don't get it." And this is basically meant in the context of - Well, it's easy for them to say those things because they don't completely understand what I'm going through. But you know, I had the realization that the conversations Stacey and I have are so different because we are IN our circumstances and can't see past an inch in front of our faces. What really struck me from this devotional is the part where it says, "The people who do us good are never those who sympathize with us, they always hinder, because sympathy enervates." (Enervate - cause (someone) to feel drained of energy or vitality; weaken). Since Stacey and I are in the same circumstances, it is so easy for us to have sympathy with each other. Our conversations can tend to sound a lot like, "Woe is me." "I don't understand." "I don't get what is going on." Honestly though, it is helpful to know that there is someone going through this with me, but I am realizing now that our sympathy for each other is getting us nowhere. We are only running in circles. We are only causing each other to feel drained and weakened.
I am realizing now, it's time for a major attitude change. I want to change my role of "sympathizer" to "encourager." And this will cause me to dig even deeper than ever before. It's so easy to receive encouragement from all of you back home. And it's so easy to be here and to sympathize with myself and with Stacey. But if I want this darkness to lift, I must seek not only to be encouraged, but to BE an encourager as well. And that's so hard because, in the moment, sympathy feels so good. Sympathy is easy. Not only will I be seeking to encourage Stacey, but I will be seeking to encourage myself. It's much easier to encourage someone when you are outside the situation, but to encourage someone with whom you are in the situation with, you're not just seeking to encourage that other person, but to encourage yourself as well. And I don't even know how to do that. But it's my new mission!
This post is already long, but I have a little more...
The last paragraph of the devotional today really hit me. It couldn't have been more spot on to say to me what I need to hear. "God plants His saints in the most useless places." Uh, yes He does!!! I have never in my life felt so useless as I do now (as I voiced in my last post). But, "Got puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is." I feel like I just got reprimanded when I read that sentence. "Yes Lord," is all I can say to that. "Yes Lord. Forgive me for doubting. Forgive me for thinking you sent me here because I thought I was so useful. Lord you sent me here to glorify your Name. That's what I've been praying. THAT has been my one desire. THAT is what you have reduced me to. And somehow I've overlooked it. I will seek to glorify You in the simplest form - to trust that You know what You are doing. To seek to become an encourager in this darkness in which I am surrounded. To seek what you would have me do in my abundance of free time here. Father, glorify your Name."